On September 22, Microsoft held a special event. Based on the invite graphics, which featured the unmistakable profile of a Surface device with its kickstand and detachable keyboard, there was no doubt about what the starring device would be. However, this Surface event was about much more than just the new Surface Pro 8. Here’s everything you need to know about what Microsoft unveiled, including the Surface Pro 8, Surface Duo 2, Surface Laptop Studio, and an update on Windows 11.
Surface Pro 8 and Surface Slim Pen 2
It was nearly two years ago that Microsoft announced the Surface Pro 7. The company’s prosumer tablet that kicked off the whole tablet as a 2-in-1 laptop category was due for a revamp. Fans of the device (and there are many) were hoping for some serious upgrades this time around. Microsoft didn’t disappoint, announcing the Surface Pro 8 with the biggest changes to its design in years.
The Surface Pro 8 is part of the Intel Evo platform (read more about that here). It’s more powerful with new 11th generation quad-core intel CPUs that deliver a 43% performance upgrade and 75% faster graphics than the previous generation model. The new Pixel Flow display grows to 13-inches compared to the previous 12.3-inch display. It’s also upgraded to a 120Hz refresh rate with adaptive colour and Dolby Vision support, and bezels shrink noticeably. The 2-in-1 gets USB-C Thunderbolt 4 support to connect high-speed peripherals while retaining the Surface Connect port.
The optional Surface Slim Pen 2 is flatter, docks flat in a niche on the Surface Pro 8 keyboard, and recharges magnetically. It’s haptic feedback mimics the sensation of drawing on paper. The new stylus is included with the Surface Pro Signature Keyboard (sold separately).
Microsoft also announced a new Wi-Fi-only version of the Surface Pro X, its ARM-based prosumer tablet.
Surface Laptop Studio
Microsoft’s Surface Book has always been an intriguing laptop. It was introduced as a 2-in-1 with a detachable slate-like display, but its unique Dynamic Fulcrum hinge made it far more solid-feeling than other devices with removable displays. For example, the Surface Pro is clearly a tablet that can optionally be used as a laptop. However the Surface Book was a no-compromise, professional-class laptop with the ability to remove its display for use as a tablet. I reviewed the second generation Surface Book and found it to be a very impressive and flexible laptop.
Microsoft didn’t update the Surface Book. Instead, the company doubled down on the creative aspect with the new Surface Laptop Studio. And there’s a new hinge approach!
This is a high performance laptop with 11th generation Intel Core Processors, the option of NVIDIA RTX 30-series mobile graphics, and dual Thunderbolt 4 ports. While it looks like a traditional laptop, its 14.4-inch, 120Hz touch display is mounted on an easel hinge. It can flip around into a tablet mode for use with the Surface Slim Pen 2 (sold separately). RAM is 16GB or 32GB, while removable SSD storage tops out at a whopping 2TB. Its precision glass trackpad offers haptic feedback. Those working from home will appreciate the 1080p webcam.
Surface Go 3
What if you want the 2-in-1 flexibility of the Surface Pro, but in a smaller and more affordable package?
That’s the role filled by Surface Go, Microsoft’s 10.5-inch tablet aimed at the consumer and education markets. The new Surface Go 3 was announced, with a focus on updating the specs and performance with new intel processors. You now have a choice of Intel Pentium Gold 6500Y or Core i3-10100Y. The refreshed processors result in a 60% performance improvement while still delivering all-day battery life.
Ocean Plastic Mouse
Looking for a way to go green while computing? The new Microsoft Ocean Plastic mouse features 20% recycled ocean plastic in its shell.
Surface Duo 2
The Surface duo (which was showed off at the the same 2019 event where the Surface Pro 7 made its debut) is an interesting device. The hinged, dual-screen phone/tablet hybrid was a groundbreaking device. Earlier this year, Ted Kritsonis wrote a post that shows just how versatile the Surface Duo can be.
Microsoft announced the next generation Surface Duo and it checks off all the most wanted features from owners of the original device. This includes 5G, bigger screens (8.3-inches) and a faster, 90Hz refresh rate for both displays. The Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 processor will offer a performance bump.
The biggest upgrade may be its camera system. Instead of a single camera, the Surface Duo 2 gets a three-camera system: 16MP ultra-wide, 12MP wide, and 12MP telephoto. The wide and telephoto lenses get optical image stabilization.
With the Windows 11 launch just several weeks away (October 5 to be precise), of course Microsoft was going to spend some time showcasing its new operating system. While the company was focused more on hardware than software at this event, we saw Windows 11 in action on all the new Surface devices. It looks to be a very exciting upgrade.
Naturally, the new Surface hardware will launch with Windows 11 already installed.
Stay tuned for hardware availability and Windows 11 features
Eager to get your hands on that hot new Surface Pro 8 or the new flagship Surface Laptop Studio? Understandable! You can expect to find all the new hardware announced by Microsoft on shelves soon at Best Buy, along with the latest Surface Laptop models, and all the accessories you might need to optimize your experience. And for those who are curious about Windows 11, including key features, how to get the new operating system for your existing Windows PC, and how much an upgrade will cost, stay tuned for a series of posts focused on this exciting new operating system.